Where is Celia?

Mrs Emma Jane Simpson

I have been in quite a moither lately; though Eliza tells me I am being silly: - she pays no account to my “second sight.” Still, I continue to be worried and upset.

Some time ago, while buying my fish, I met a strange little creature named Celia who was in service in the kitchen of a house near to the King’s palace.

After that first meeting we came across each other from time to time and soon Celia became a regular visitor to my own kitchen.  The other servants were not best pleased because the daft niddicocks thought she was an imp of Satan, if you please! To be sure the poor woman is not the most prepossessing and her tiny stature could well, among the superstitious, give rise to the feeling that she is not of this world. She also suffers an affliction with her hands which, it must be admitted, gives rise to thoughts that she is not properly formed.  But she is a funny little thing and most eager to learn about cooking for the gentry. (Though how those poor little paws of hers could hold a large pudding basin and whisk up a dozen eggs, I know not.)

Howsomever, recently she missed an assignation she had made with me to come and discuss some matters of personal import.  As I seem to be her only gossip here in Brighton she confides, betimes, in me.  I was much concerned to learn as the poor little thing has been sore upset to find she is now with child to a husband whose love for her seems to be a-waning.

Nor did she appear at my kitchen door last Sunday as is her wont, and no word has she sent me to explain these omissions.  She has not been in any of her usual haunts lately so John Coachman tells me; and I feel a black foreboding as to her fate.

Her husband is as nasty a piece of work as you did ever come across, and the men-servants have lately seen him in the company of another woman who seems also to be in an interesting condition.

Eliza thinks Celia may have discovered that her man trysts with another and has left Brighton for to go back to her village.  But I know she would not have taken such a course without discussing it with me. Besides, the poor silly loon is still  in love with her wastrel man and, I feel sure, would put up a fight for him against a usurper.

Mayhap this is not content for my journal. Yet, being sure that something has befallen my little acquaintance, I insist on writing this down.  I feel sure that the name Celia Bashford will one day be a name that all will know and which will be coupled with the darkest infamy.